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Early and Middle Phase

Fighting Over Blinds

Stealing the blinds: the fine art of poker larceny...

Stealing and defending blinds are two of the most important skills there are in multi-table tournament play. This applies particularly during bubble and the in-the-money stages of the tournament, all the way to the final table.

Much like attacking weak players during the bubble period, it is best to target opponents who are playing a little too tight. They are likely to give up their blinds too readily. However it is also useful against strong players, albeit slightly harder. You may need to turn down the aggression against stronger opponents.

Blind Stealing

"Blind stealing" is the process of raising pre-flop with the aim to win the blinds and antes, regardless of the strength of your hand. It is ideal to do so in late position, when everybody acting before you has folded and the players in the blinds are weak. You can raise with almost all your hands in those conditions and have a reasonable degree of confidence that your stealing will work. If someone plays back at you, you know you are up against a big hand so can fold.

If your position is worse, or the players in the blinds are on the loose side, you have to be more selective about your hands. There are also some other factors like your stack size and the stack size of the players behind you that are important.

Here are a few examples of when you might want to steal, and when you might not.

Re-raising all in

Unfortunately you are not the only player at the table who likes to add more chips to his stack. When you are in the blinds, other players will inevitably try to steal from you. If your opponent moves all in, you only have the decision if you want to call him or not. But if the stacks are bigger, and your opponent has made a standard opening raise, then there are two options how to defend: 
  1. Re-raise, usually all-in
  2. Call, see a flop and go from there
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